Inauguration eve contemplations
Will I really be the first one?
I feel sort of weird that I will be the first one to make the post on tomorrow. You know, that history-making, nation-changing, beginning-marking, hope-inspiring day otherwise known as Obamapolooza. It actually started on Sunday with a concert, and will end with the swearing in of the 44th American president (except not really, since there’s still the inaugural ball in the evening, not to mention all the media that will probably linger like an untreated headache).
This is my first post -in fact, I’ve never blogged before. So it feels strange that I’m talking about something that’s supposed to be so momentous the first time I try to make my thoughts publicly readable. To introduce myself, I’m a second Arts student at UBC. I lived in Taipei and Boston before moving to Vancouver, which actually makes me Taiwanese-American-Canadian. Which is maybe why I actually feel the need to write something about Obama. After all, it’s not as if he’s lacking attention. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t have a US citizenship, I’d still care about him. I would’ve probably still teared up during his victory speech (keep in mind, I also teared up at the end of Cheaper by the Dozen). But this inauguration is making think about the nature of having to hyphenate my nationality. It’s always been as source of pride and confusion, this tri-citizenship.
I remember writing an essay in grade nine, trying to make sense of what it means to be American. I can’t say I’ve gotten very far on that subject. Even with all the definitions of nation that exists and all the debates that surround the meaning of that word, I can only go by what I’ve experienced. I know I feel a sense of obligation to be loyal to the US, Canada, and Taiwan (depending on whether or not you think the last is a country). I also feel an obligation to be informed on the politics of these places, and am ashamed because I do not consider myself well-versed in politics at all. I know I have a lot more paperwork as a result of this situation. Every time I read something where one of these countries is well-represented, I feel ever so slightly prouder. Conversely, I go ‘oy’ inside when the opposite happens. I also feel like this citizenship thing is a little bit arbitrary for something that’s supposed to be part of my identity. I was only born in the States and lived there a total of two years; it feels strange to be attached to that country just because of that.
Anyway, a lot has been said about how Obama is able to inspire and engage people. This whole hoopla seems exaggerated to me in a certain sense, but it also makes me a little bit more involved in one of the countries I’m supposed to be a part of. In the end I think Obama really just makes me realize: I have to work at being Taiwanese, Canadian or American – because I have to make the labels that have been given me my own. Otherwise they really will be arbitrary.
Any particular feelings that Inauguration Day brings out in you?